Full 2013 Nissan NV200 Review
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Nissan NV200 is an all-new, front-wheel-drive compact cargo van.
Small cargo vans are one of the best options for small business owners or fleet-vehicle managers who don't need the capacity of a traditional full-size van. These small vans still provide plenty of utility while remaining compact, easy to maneuver and relatively fuel-efficient. Now there's another option in this class, the 2013 Nissan NV200.
The NV200 is all new, and although the name may sound familiar, this is an entirely different design from its big brother, the Nissan NV. Unlike the trucklike NV, this smaller cargo van is car-based, with everyday practicality in mind. Nissan designed the NV200 off the same platform as the Nissan Cube and Versa, so it will likely be much more agile and fuel-efficient in town, and more suitable on the highway than the typical full-size van.
For power, the NV200 relies on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 131 horsepower. Even for a modern small sedan, this would be pretty underwhelming, so acceleration is going to be slow, especially if the van is loaded up with cargo. Still, the NV200 has some thoughtful features, including 40/60-split rear cargo doors (the left side is smaller to reduce street-side intrusion when open), a low cargo floor and some useful convenience and technology features to make on-the-job tasks easier.
The 2013 Nissan NV200 is designed to be a capable and economic competitor to the 2013 Ford Transit Connect and the 2013 Ram C/V Tradesman. Compared to these models, the design of the Nissan NV200 looks much more European than its decidedly American rivals, and the interior cargo space suffers slightly for it. And like the Ford, the NV200's four-cylinder is pretty mediocre in terms of power (though fuel economy is best in class). Overall, though, we think small businesses or fleet operators will find the NV200 a smart choice for a small commercial van.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Nissan NV200 is a compact work van designed for commercial usage and available in S and SV trims. Standard on the S trim level are 15-inch steel wheels, 40/60 split rear cargo doors, manual sliding rear side doors, power front windows and a two-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary input jack. Cruise control is optional for the S. The SV includes all of the above plus power locks, keyless entry and added cargo area tie-down points.
Available for both S and SV is the Back Door Glass package, which adds rear privacy glass, a rearview mirror and rear defroster. Bluetooth phone connectivity is a stand-alone option. For the SV, the Technology package adds a 5.8-inch touchscreen display, a navigation system, a rearview camera, voice controls, satellite radio, Pandora radio functionality, a USB input, Bluetooth audio connectivity and hands-free text messaging assist. An Exterior Appearance package is also available for the SV; it adds wheel covers and body-color bumpers, mirrors and door handles.
Powertrains and Performance
A 2.0-liter four cylinder is the only engine available in the Nissan NV200. It produces 131 hp and 139 pound-feet of torque. Transmitting power to the front wheels is a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Nissan estimates fuel economy to be 24 mpg for combined city/highway driving, which is better than the Ram C/V or Transit Connect.
Standard safety features on the Nissan NV200 include antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum), traction and stability control, side curtain airbags and front seat side-impact airbags.
Interior Design and Special Features
On the interior, Nissan has already done some of the work for you by providing standard integrated mounting points to allow the installation of racks and shelves without the need to drill into the walls of the van. The mounting points paired with the six optional cargo hooks should give drivers an easy solution for securing their tools or supplies.
Cargo capacity in the 2013 Nissan NV200 is 122.7 cubic feet, with a maximum payload of 1,500 pounds. Compared to the 135 cubic feet of space and 1,600-pound payload in the Ford Transit Connect and the 144.4 cubic feet of space and 1,800-pound payload of the Ram C/V Tradesman, the NV200 is modest but still capable.
The cabin of the NV200 seems to have been designed with the driver in mind, with multiple storage areas, a six-way adjustable driver seat and a center console featuring laptop/hanging file folder storage. The passenger-side seat has an underseat storage tray and the seat itself will also fold down to increase cargo space. It can also serve as a work station via the seatback's large built-in tray that will accommodate most laptops or lunch.
We haven't had the chance to drive the 2013 Nissan NV200 yet, but we expect it will be a welcome addition to a market that has seen very few updates or changes over the years. Its sleek design, versatile interior and possibilities for customization are promising. Its small four-cylinder engine will likely prove underpowered while fully loaded, and the ride quality will likely suffer under its maximum weight capacity. But given what's expected of this workhorse, overall performance should be perfectly adequate.